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Brandon Robshaw: English Usage #14

Bring Me Sunshine

Earlier this year, the pub choir I sing in rehearsed the old Morecambe and Wise number "Bring me Sunshine". For those of my vintage it has a certain nostalgic appeal – but until I had to sing it I never fully realised how utterly shit the lyrics are. It sounds like a nine-year-old made it up during playtime. It's full of trite, mincing little clichés ("bring me rainbows", "gather little sunbeams") and its one attempt at an original simile – "Let your arms be as warm as the sun from up above" – is preposterous. As warm as the sun? 5,000° Celsius at the surface and millions of degrees in the interior? You'll disappear in a puff of smoke, you fool!

Of course that line is only there because "above" makes a handy rhyme for "love" – and indeed the whole thing is wincingly rhyme-driven. "All the while" is only there because it rhymes with "smile"; and "keep me singing happy songs" would not have got in on merit alone had it not happened to rhyme, more or less, with "long".

Over and above the lyrical ineptness there is something grating about the singer's selfish, peremptory, unrealistic demands. "Bring me sunshine... Bring me laughter... Make me happy... Never bring me any tears." He doesn't even say please. And what's he offering in return? Nothing. The guy just has no idea of what real relationships involve.

Dr Brandon Robshaw lectures for the Open University in Philosophy, Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. He has written several children’s books including a philosophical YA novel, The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers. He and his family starred in BBC2’s Back in Time for Dinner. You can find his website here.


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